1. Section Editor(s): Kennedy, Maureen Shawn MA, RN


A family problem requires family intervention.


Article Content

Type 1 diabetes is one of the most common chronic childhood illnesses, affecting one in 400 people under age 20. Several studies have highlighted the importance of recognizing the prevalence of depressive symptoms in children with type 1 diabetes and its effects on metabolic control. But recent research suggests that depression also affects the mental health of family caregivers. To understand what happens when mothers find it difficult to cope with a child's diabetes, Jaser and colleagues examined factors that relate to a child's depression and the mother's "maladaptive behaviors."


One-hundred eight children (eight to 12 years old) with type 1 diabetes and their mothers were evaluated for depression, coping skills, quality of life, and family functioning. A substantial percentage of mothers (22%) and children (12%) reported clinically significant levels of depression-considerably higher than the estimated rates in the general population. Also, correlational analyses revealed that when a child had more symptoms of depression, so did the mother.


Rates of depression as high as 33% have been noted in children with type 1 diabetes. The findings of this study underscore the need for interventions that help families to cope with both depression and diabetes.


Jaser SS, et al. J Pediatr Psychol 2008;33(5):509-19.